Thinking of studying a second bachelor degree?

By Matthew Mack

So some of you reading this may have recently acquired an offer to study at the University of Melbourne. Congratulations!

Others may be somewhat hesitant about the fact that you can’t directly study a double degree at the University of Melbourne. I can empathise, I wanted to do a Science/Music double degree, but at the time, such wasn’t possible. Their alternative is to study a second bachelor’s degree after your first.

I started with a Bachelor of Music (3 years), following up with a Bachelor of Science (2 years), totalling five years of full time study. Just as if I’d studied a double degree!

The conditions on the university website (see here) states:

4.1. Sequential bachelor degree courses will be structured such that the first bachelor degree course is completed with 300 points (3 years) and the second with a subsequent 200 points (2 years). The second degree course is completed with up to 100 points cross-credited from the first course.

4.2. The second bachelor degree course will consist primarily of core subjects and breadth will not be available unless otherwise approved by the Board.

4.3. 100 points of credit for the second bachelor degree course will consist largely of breath studies undertaken in the first bachelor degree course. Credit may be given for core subjects where appropriate.

4.4. Completion of a major is required in the first and second bachelor degree courses. 

4.5. Entry into the second bachelor degree course requires the applicant to have met the entry and prerequisite requirements of the second bachelor degree course from school studies or from studies within the first bachelor degree course.

So without further ado, the easiest way to see this in action is to show you the layout of subjects I studied over these five years. 

Bachelor of Music: Performance Major

Screen Shot 2015-04-16 at 8.48.38 pm

* These subjects are either discontinued or replaced
^ UMEP = University of Melbourne Extension Program

Note: B.Mus students, your layout will look slightly different due to the 6.25 credit subjects – I’ve purposely bundled them together in this table for brevity.

You’ll see that it’s basically a fairly standard three years of full-time study. Four subjects a semester, with my core subjects in music and my breadth subjects within the science areas.

Bachelor of Science: Discrete Mathematics/Operations Research Major

Screen Shot 2015-04-16 at 8.49.32 pm

The most important part about your second degree is that you are not required to take breadth subjects. You can easily see this in my B.Sci table, where the six blank slots are the breadth subjects credited over from my B.Mus.

The other benefit I got was that since I’d studied B.Sci subjects as breadth in my B.Mus, they also contributed to the core component of my B.Sci which meant that for three semesters, I only needed to study three subjects (hence a lighter workload!).

If you’re thinking of doing a concurrent/second bachelor degree, the main points you want to take from this post are:

1. In your first degree, doing breath subjects that can be credited to your second intended bachelor’s degree will reduce the amount of study you’ll need to do in your second degree. It’s not necessary, but it helps!

2. You will still need to be aware of subject requirements. For your second bachelor’s degree you’re required to do study equivalent to two years full time, but you may not be able to get it all done in two years!

For example, if you aim to study mathematics in a B.Sci as your second degree, I strongly suggest taking the first year subjects (which will be typically) Calculus 2 and Linear Algebra, since it allows you to study most of the second year mathematics subjects.

3. It’s definitely worth seeing a course advisor, or even postgraduate students who are familiar with the layout of undergraduate subjects.

– Matthew

More about Matthew

Matthew Mack is spending his 7th year of study at UniMelb finishing the second half of a Master of Science (Mathematics & Statistics), specialising in Operations Research (basically, we tell Santa the most efficient way to deliver his presents around the world every Christmas!).

If you’d like advice on mathematics subjects, resources, or possibly “inside information”, I can be reached at

More importantly, he’s the Publicity Officer of the Melbourne Uni Mathematics & Statistics Society (MUMS), which runs weekly seminars and other events throughout the year. All events are open to everyone, no membership is required! Visit our website at and subscribe to our mailing list, and/or join the Facebook group to be notified about these events.

One thought on “Thinking of studying a second bachelor degree?

  1. Thanks for the tips – I didn’t even know Melbourne Uni offered an alternative to double degrees. Might consider doing something else before heading into my Masters…

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